Artists have a responsibility to speak and to act when governments fail, and if we don't do that, we really deserve the world we get.

We have to wake up. We have to refuse to be a clone.

How simple a thing it seems to me that to know ourselves as we are, we must know our mothers names.

This is a wonderful planet, and it is being completely destroyed by people who have too much money and power and no empathy.

For me, I used to be shy towards journalism because it wasn't poetry. And then I realized that the events that I covered in essays that became journalism were actually great because they inspired me, and they became my muse.

First time I got the full sight of Shug Avery long black body with it black plum nipples, look like her mouth, I thought I had turned into a man.

One child must never be set above another, even in casual conversation, not to mention in speeches that circle the globe.

My heart hurt so much I can't believe it. How can it keep beating, feeling like this?

Just cause I love her don't take away none of her rights.

In the summer of 1966, I went to Mississippi to be in the heart of the civil-rights movement, helping people who had been thrown off the farms or taken off the welfare roles for registering to vote. While working there, I met the civil-rights lawyer I later married - we became an interracial couple.

I gave my archive to Emory University because there's a really dear friend who teaches there, Rudolph Byrd, and he's the editor.

Ain't nothing wrong with Shug Avery. She just sick. Sicker than anybody I ever seen. She sicker than my mama was when she die. But she more evil than my mama and that keep her alive.

People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.

What did it mean for a black woman to be an artist in our grandmothers' time? In our great-grandmothers' day? It is an answer cruel enough to stop the blood.

Many readers fail to realize this, but 'The Color Purple' is a theological text. It is about the reclamation of one's original God: the earth and nature.

I grew up in the South under segregation. So, I know what terrorism feels like - when your father could be taken out in the middle of the night and lynched just because he didn't look like he was in an obeying frame of mind when a white person said something he must do. I mean, that's terrorism, too.

Sexuality is one of the ways that we become enlightened, actually, because it leads us to self-knowledge.

Well how you spect to make her mind? Wives is like children. You have to let 'em know who got the upper hand. Nothing can do better than a good sound beating.

From paradise to paradise I go sweeping; collecting rocks & views; owning nothing but what I feel.

If you was my wife, she say, I'd cover you up with kisses stead of licks, and work hard for you too.

There's something in all of us that wants a medal for what we have done. That wants to be appreciated.

I had assumed that the Earth, the spirit of the Earth, noticed exceptions -- those who wantonly damage it and those who do not. But the Earth is wise. It has given itself into the keeping of all, and all are therefore accountable.

I just like to have words that describe things correctly. Now to me, 'black feminist' does not do that. I need a word that is organic, that really comes out of the culture, that really expresses the spirit that we see in black women. And it's just... womanish.

I could get no further. There was a boulder lodged in my throat. My heart surged pitifully. I knew what the boulder was; that it was a word; and that behind that word I would find my earliest emotions. Emotions that had frightened me insane.

She say, Celie, tell the truth, have you ever found God in church? I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show. Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me. And I think all the other folks did too. They come to church to share God, not find God.

I see myself in all the people in the world who are suffering and who are very badly treated and who are often made to feel that they have no place on this Earth.

Tashi knows she is learning a way of life she will never live.

Without money of one's own in a capitalist society, there is no such thing as independence.

We must, I believe, start teaching our children the sanity of nonviolence much earlier.

How long will it take the citizens of the United States, one wonders, to recognize that the house their country bombed in Iraq is the same one they were living in until it was foreclosed?

It all I can do not to cry. I make myself wood. I say to myself, Celie, you a tree. That's how come I know trees fear man.

I've learned not to worry about love; but to honor its coming with all my heart.

I talk to myself a lot, standing in front the mirror. Celie, I say, happiness was just a trick in your case. Just cause you never had any before Shug, you thought it was time to have some, and that it was gon last. Even thought you had the trees with you. The whole earth. The stars. But look at you. When Shug left, happiness desert.

I make myself wood. I say to myself, Celie, you a tree. That's how come I know trees fear man.

We should not look down on our first ancestors.

I think of the meaning of the word "testimony." Originally it named the custom of two men holding each other's testicles in a gesture of trust, later to metamorphose into the handshake.

Why any woman give a shit what people think is a mystery to me.

She got a long pointed nose and big fleshy mouth. Lips look like black plum. Eyes big, glossy. Feverish. And mean. Like, sick as she is, if a snake cross her path, she kill it.

I think it annoys God if you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice.

Shug say, What, too shamefaced to put singing and dancing and fucking together? She laugh. That's the reason they call what us sing the devil's music. Devils love to fuck.

Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me.

Sometimes I feel mad at her. Feel like I could scratch her hair right off her head. But then I think, Shug got a right to live too. She got a right to look over the world in whatever company she choose. Just cause I love her don't take none of her rights.

I love him bodily, as a man! I love his walk, his size, his shape, his smell, the kinkiness of his hair. I love the very texture of his palms. The pink of his brows. I love his feet. And I love his dear eyes in which the vulnerability and beauty of his soul can be plainly read.

Meditation has been a loyal friend to me. It has helped me write my books.

My parents were both storytellers. They always spoke with metaphorical richness.

When the ax came into the forest the trees said the handle is one of us.

Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet.

What's really hard is that you could care a lot for someone and not want to live with him anymore.

It is healthier, in any case, to write for the adults one's children will become than for the children one's 'mature' critics often are.